Monday, November 26, 2007


It has now been four full days since the birth of my daughter, whom I have named Elenore, in accordance with her express wishes. I was alone at the Abney Park laboratory, Miss Paine having left to run an errand for me, when the contractions began. Or, rather, what I at first mistook for the usual sort of muscular contractions preceding a birth. Though I was unable to make it back to our rooms above the Museum, with great effort did I gain the loft in the laboratory, and there lay down, hoping that Miss Paine would soon return.

I have already made a more extensive and, I hope, a more objective and scientific account of Elenore's birth and posted it to Bellatrix at her home in Steehead. Here, I wanted only to write something of how the event has effected me, and of my fears of the days that lie ahead. I am still not fully recovered, and I tire much too easily. I have made a great show of being well for the benefit of both Artemisia and the people of New Babbage. I must do my best to keep the latter from finding Elenore, from seeing her, until she is ready to be seen.

I lay on the freezing floor of the loft, my breath fogging as my body was wracked with the paroxysms of my daughter's coming. Though I had tried my best to learn all I could of the reproductive biology of the Nebari race, the truth is that I learned very little, and I was therefore entirely, wholly unprepared for what next occurred. Having managed to remove most of my clothing, I watched in horror and amazement as a vertical slit opened from a point just below my sternum and extending the full length of my abdomen to a point just above the Mons Pubis. Beginning as a shallow furrow, it soon widened and started to excrete a clear mucosal substance mixed with my blue Nebari blood. Within a span of time that could not have exceeded much more than ten minutes, the furrow had grown to a width of at least eight centimetres. I could clearly see, through a thin membrane, certain vital organs, as well as the thick, distended amnion.

At this point, the pain became almost unendurable, and my observations of the events that followed are not to be considered reliable. I believe I must have lost consciousness for several minutes. I came around to the cries of Miss Paine, who had returned to discover me lying on the loft floor with that gaping maw where my abdomen ought to be. I believe I asked her to remain at the door and not come near me, but I am not sure. Regardless, she came to me and held my head as the birth proceeded, overcoming her terror to whisper such attempts at comfort as she could manage.

The amnion swelled until it simply spilled out of my body, at which point the furrow in my belly rapidly began to close again. Almost immediately, the ovum was discharged, a huge transparent thing, and I watched in disbelief as it sprouted numerous tentacles or arms and began to drag itself towards a corner of the room. I could, at this point, clearly see the foetus curled inside the egg. The whole thing continued to expand at an incredible rate, and suddenly it ejected some coiled and fibrous process which smacked loudly, wetly against the low ceiling. There they stuck fast, and the tentacled ovum or amnion hoisted itself upwards until it dangled approximately a metre above the floor. There was, at this tme, a hideous, squelching noise, and the egg "coughed out" a great quantity of some soupy reddish matter not dissimilar to a mammalian afterbirth. I later examined a sample of this tissue, and determined that it did, in fact, contain haemoglobin, and so I have concluded it must be Gallifreyan in origin and not Nebari tissue. As the egg hung there, my daughter dangling head-down above me, the waving tentacles sprayed something not unlike spider silk, shrouding the whole of the egg and adding, I suppose, another protective layer.

It is my belief that during my battle with the "Great Old Ones" invited into this world by Eliot's Porta Terrarum device, Elenore must have managed to secure hereditary molecules from those alien beings, matter she suspected would help protect her during this vulnerable period. The tentacles, ringed about on two tiers, bear a powerful neurotoxin (though I seem to have been granted immunity).

I am too tired to write any more now. I do not know how much longer it will be until Elenore emerges. Only Beq and Gloriana have seen her thus far, and my greatest fear is that she will be discovered in this interim. I cannot entirely blame the fearful attitudes of the men and women of Babbage following the events of September, but my first and foremost duty is to my daughter and my creator, Elenore. I will defend her however I may, and even unto my own death, if needs be. I hardly sleep now, and will remain here in the loft whenever possible, keeping this vigil.

1 comment:

Skusting Dagger said...

Should the ruse (for I am sure now, that this is the case) of the radiation leak fail to keep folks away from the lab, please feel free to call on me at any time to assist with keeping a watchful eye on the place. My studio is quite nearby (next to the Paleozoic Museum in fact), and I am more than willing to lend a hand to a neighbor in distress. I daresay that my true visage would be an imposing enough impedement to any tresspassers.
I still feel indebted to you for helping me to come to terms with my persona unseen by most of New Babbage's citizens.